Understanding Marijuana Addiction
Marijuana is a plant-based drug that is the most commonly used illegal drug in the UK. Street and popular names for Marijuana include Cannabis, Hooch, Joint, Hash, Pot, and Weed. Marijuana is also legalised in many US states, meaning that misconceptions surrounding its safety and usage continue to be communicated, even here in the UK.
Marijuana can be prescribed by a doctor to relieve pain, as it is highly effective at relieving joint and muscular pain. This has however led to the drug becoming easily available, and for people to deal it illegally. Marijuana is usually eaten by being mixed into food products (known as ‘edibles’), such as biscuits and cakes. It can also be smoked.
A common side effect of eating small amounts of Marijuana is experiencing the ‘munchies’, as the drug stimulates the appetite. It also gives the user a relaxed state of happiness, giving them a ‘calm’ high. The drug generally has psychoactive effects and is highly addictive.
Although Marijuana is widely considered to be a ‘soft drug’, and less dangerous then other class-A substances such as Ecstasy or Cocaine, it is worth remembering that any form of drug abuse can lead to serious addiction and take a lot from a person – including their job, relationships with loved ones, finance, employment, well-being, mental health, and general physical health. People struggling with Marijuana addiction often experience fluctuating moods, depression, psychological problems, confusion, and anxiety. It can also cause some people to become aggressive and paranoid due to its psychoactive effects on the brain.
What are the Effects and Abuse of Marijuana?
When Marijuana is taken, it causes the body to increase dopamine production, also known as ‘the happy hormone’. This gives the user intense feelings of euphoria and relaxation, known as a ‘high’. As the effects of the drug wear off, their dopamine levels start to drop again, and often fall lower than they were previously. This causes a person to take more Marijuana to get the previous high that they experienced. In time, they build up a tolerance to the drug, meaning that they have to use more to experience any kind of happy effect. It is also likely that withdrawal symptoms will be experienced if the drug is not taken on a regular basis.
Around 10% of Marijuana users eventually become dependent on it. The risk of addiction increases if it is taken every day, or if a user starts taking it in their teens. Cancer and heart disease, as well as various mental health problems including paranoia and depression, are more likely if a person becomes dependent on Marijuana. How a person feels when taking Marijuana varies, but some common effects include:
- Feeling extremely relaxed and calm
- Euphoria and happiness
- Being giggly and talkative
- Stimulated appetite
- Heightened senses (sounds appearing louder and colours brighter)
- Feeling as though time is slowing down
- Sickness and nausea
- Memory loss
- Anxiety and panic
- Sleepiness and lethargy
- Lack of motivation and focus
People who are heavily addicted to Marijuana tend to have a disinterest in all aspects of their life, including relationships with family and friends, work, education and financial responsibilities. Their focus instead is on taking drugs.
What are Warning Signs of Marijuana Addiction?
Common signs of Marijuana addiction include:
- Panic attacks
- A constant craving for Marijuana
- Taking increasing amounts of Marijuana
- Secrecy surrounding use of Marijuana
- Hostile and defensive behaviour
- Lying about how much Marijuana has been taken
- Trouble sleeping
- Depression and low moods
- Loss of appetite
- Anger and aggression
If you notice these symptoms within yourself or someone you love, talk to us at East Coast Recovery today for support and further information on how you can break the cycle of addiction.
What Are Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms?
Common symptoms of Marijuana withdrawal include:
- Poor appetite
- Mood swings
- Anger and hostility
- Lack of focus and concentration
- Fluctuating body temperature
- Depression and suicidal thoughts
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
- Increased cravings for Marijuana
Withdrawal symptoms vary in severity from person to person. Some symptoms are not necessarily dangerous, but can be unpleasant and uncomfortable to deal with. Marijuana withdrawal isn’t generally as bad as withdrawal from other substances such as Heroin or Cocaine, however, many people do experience both mental and physical discomfort when trying to quit using the drug.
Withdrawal symptoms occur because frequent Marijuana users develop a tolerance to Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is present when the substance is smoked. The more Marijuana is smoked, the more the brain depends on receiving a supply of THC. When this supply suddenly stops and a person tries to quit, they experience withdrawal because the brain is trying to function without THC.
You can take steps yourself to help withdrawal symptoms (if you have not taken Marijuana in a 72-hour period), including drinking plenty of water, eating foods with a high vitamin content, exercising regularly, and receiving family support.
What Support for Marijuana Addiction?
If you need help and support to get back on track, and you or someone you love is struggling with a Marijuana addiction, we can help at East Coast Recovery. Speaking to someone about an addiction is nothing to be ashamed of, and our team has helped lots of previous clients to get their lives back, with complete freedom from drugs. Give our friendly team a call about our admissions and the recovery process. We want to hear the story behind your Marijuana addiction and how you have come to the point where you feel you need treatment and further support. We’ll need to know about any previous drug history you have, and any details of other substances you are taking. We will discuss a potential care and treatment plan that is unique to you. This may mean a stay with us at our residential clinic or out-patient treatment. We will discuss the way Marijuana makes you feel physically and mentally, as well as your ‘trigger’ points when you feel cravings.
Our staff are highly trained and experienced in helping and motivating clients who are struggling with Marijuana abuse and addiction. As part of an individual’s treatment, we will incorporate a range of rehabilitation methods include cognitive behavioural therapy, group therapy, counselling and mindfulness. We also encourage speech sessions with family and friends who can support clients on their journey to recovery. All clients will receive complete care and compassion from our outstanding staff, who have been chosen for their professionalism and knowledge of Marijuana abuse, addiction and rehabilitation.
Treatment of Marijuana Addiction
If you decide to undertake rehabilitation with us at East Coast Recovery, we will do all we can to help you in your journey to getting clean and free from drug use. We have a number of treatment options available. If your addiction is severe, we may need to detox your body to remove substances from your system. This would be the case if you were taking Marijuana alongside other substances such as Heroin. You will be slowly supervised by our team of staff, who are qualified to administer medication to help physical withdrawal symptoms should the need arise. We will also be able to help care for any mental withdrawal symptoms you may experience, such as panic attacks, anxiety and depression.
Following detox (if applicable), it may be necessary for you to join us in our rehabilitation centre. Here you will have continued support from our on-site team, and undertake various therapies including counselling, mindfulness, speech therapy, family therapy and group therapy. We will also introduce mindfulness and meditation as a way to cope with cravings and trigger points.
For those requiring more flexibility, home support or with more mild addictions, we can treat you as an out-patient. You will need to attend our centre for a specific number of hours each week to receive treatment.
We also encourage all of our clients to attend Narcotic Anonymous (NA) meetings, educational programmes and mindfulness classes to enable them to focus on new goals. Get in touch with our friendly team who are waiting to take your call. Many of our staff greatly understand our clients’ needs and concerns and are trained to help them cope with a wide range of addictions and associated behaviours.